Now, with Think Like a Freak, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner have written their most revolutionary book yet. With their trademark blend of captivating storytelling and unconventional analysis, they take us inside their thought process and teach us all to think a bit more productively, more creatively, more rationally—to think, that is, like a Freak.
Levitt and Dubner offer a blueprint for an entirely new way to solve problems, whether your interest lies in minor lifehacks or major global reforms. As always, no topic is off-limits. They range from business to philanthropy to sports to politics, all with the goal of retraining your brain. Along the way, you’ll learn the secrets of a Japanese hot-dog-eating champion, the reason an Australian doctor swallowed a batch of dangerous bacteria, and why Nigerian e-mail scammers make a point of saying they’re from Nigeria.
Some of the steps toward thinking like a Freak:First, put away your moral compass—because it’s hard to see a problem clearly if you’ve already decided what to do about it. Learn to say “I don’t know”—for until you can admit what you don’t yet know, it’s virtually impossible to learn what you need to. Think like a child—because you’ll come up with better ideas and ask better questions. Take a master class in incentives—because for better or worse, incentives rule our world. Learn to persuade people who don’t want to be persuaded—because being right is rarely enough to carry the day. Learn to appreciate the upside of quitting—because you can’t solve tomorrow’s problem if you aren’t willing to abandon today’s dud.
Levitt and Dubner plainly see the world like no one else. Now you can too. Never before have such iconoclastic thinkers been so revealing—and so much fun to read.
New York Times Bestseller
“Not so different in spirit from the way public intellectuals like John Kenneth Galbraith once shaped discussions of economic policy and public figures like Walter Cronkite helped sway opinion on the Vietnam War…could turn out to be one of the more momentous books of the decade.”
—New York Times Book Review
"Nate Silver's The Signal and the Noise is The Soul of a New Machine for the 21st century."
—Rachel Maddow, author of Drift
"A serious treatise about the craft of prediction—without academic mathematics—cheerily aimed at lay readers. Silver's coverage is polymathic, ranging from poker and earthquakes to climate change and terrorism."
—New York Review of Books
Nate Silver built an innovative system for predicting baseball performance, predicted the 2008 election within a hair’s breadth, and became a national sensation as a blogger—all by the time he was thirty. He solidified his standing as the nation's foremost political forecaster with his near perfect prediction of the 2012 election. Silver is the founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.com.
Drawing on his own groundbreaking work, Silver examines the world of prediction, investigating how we can distinguish a true signal from a universe of noisy data. Most predictions fail, often at great cost to society, because most of us have a poor understanding of probability and uncertainty. Both experts and laypeople mistake more confident predictions for more accurate ones. But overconfidence is often the reason for failure. If our appreciation of uncertainty improves, our predictions can get better too. This is the “prediction paradox”: The more humility we have about our ability to make predictions, the more successful we can be in planning for the future.
In keeping with his own aim to seek truth from data, Silver visits the most successful forecasters in a range of areas, from hurricanes to baseball, from the poker table to the stock market, from Capitol Hill to the NBA. He explains and evaluates how these forecasters think and what bonds they share. What lies behind their success? Are they good—or just lucky? What patterns have they unraveled? And are their forecasts really right? He explores unanticipated commonalities and exposes unexpected juxtapositions. And sometimes, it is not so much how good a prediction is in an absolute sense that matters but how good it is relative to the competition. In other cases, prediction is still a very rudimentary—and dangerous—science.
Silver observes that the most accurate forecasters tend to have a superior command of probability, and they tend to be both humble and hardworking. They distinguish the predictable from the unpredictable, and they notice a thousand little details that lead them closer to the truth. Because of their appreciation of probability, they can distinguish the signal from the noise.
With everything from the health of the global economy to our ability to fight terrorism dependent on the quality of our predictions, Nate Silver’s insights are an essential read.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Since his documentary, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, was released in 2010 and became a worldwide sensation, Joe Cross has become a tireless advocate for the power of juicing. The Reboot with Joe Juice Diet brings us of the plan that allowed him to overcome obesity, poor health, and bad habits, and presents success stories from others whose lives he’s touched.
Joe—who managed to lose one hundred pounds and discontinue all his medication by following his own plan—walks you through his life before juicing, sharing his self-defeating attitude toward food and fitness, and brings you along on his journey from obesity and disease to fitness, a clean bill of health, and the clarity of physical wellness.
In addition to sharing Joe’s inspirational story, The Reboot with Joe Juice Diet gives readers all the tools they need to embark on their own journey to health and wellness, including inspiration and encouragement, recipes, and diet plans.
“With relatively little effort, you can design and assemble an investment portfolio that, because of its wide diversification and minimal expenses, will prove superior to the most professionally managed accounts. Great intelligence and good luck are not required.”
William Bernstein’s commonsense approach to portfolio construction has served investors well during the past turbulent decade—and it’s what made The Four Pillars of Investing an instant classic when it was first published nearly a decade ago.
This down-to-earth book lays out in easy-to-understand prose the four essential topics that every investor must master: the relationship of risk and reward, the history of the market, the psychology of the investor and the market, and the folly of taking financial advice from investment salespeople.
Bernstein pulls back the curtain to reveal what really goes on in today’s financial industry as he outlines a simple program for building wealth while controlling risk. Straightforward in its presentation and generous in its real-life examples, The Four Pillars of Investing presents a no-nonsense discussion of:The art and science of mixing different asset classes into an effective blend The dangers of actively picking stocks, as opposed to investing in the whole market Behavioral finance and how state of mind can adversely affect decision making Reasons the mutual fund and brokerage industries, rather than your partners, are often your most direct competitors Strategies for managing all of your assets—savings, 401(k)s, home equity—as one portfolio
Investing is not a destination. It is a journey, and along the way are stockbrokers, journalists, and mutual fund companies whose interests are diametrically opposed to yours.
More relevant today than ever, The Four Pillars of Investing shows you how to determine your own financial direction and assemble an investment program with the sole goal of building long-term wealth for you and your family.
First published by the University of Chicago Press on September 18, 1944, The Road to Serfdom garnered immediate, widespread attention. The first printing of 2,000 copies was exhausted instantly, and within six months more than 30,000 books were sold. In April 1945, Reader’s Digest published a condensed version of the book, and soon thereafter the Book-of-the-Month Club distributed this edition to more than 600,000 readers. A perennial best seller, the book has sold 400,000 copies in the United States alone and has been translated into more than twenty languages, along the way becoming one of the most important and influential books of the century.
With this new edition, The Road to Serfdom takes its place in the series The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek. The volume includes a foreword by series editor and leading Hayek scholar Bruce Caldwell explaining the book's origins and publishing history and assessing common misinterpretations of Hayek's thought. Caldwell has also standardized and corrected Hayek's references and added helpful new explanatory notes. Supplemented with an appendix of related materials ranging from prepublication reports on the initial manuscript to forewords to earlier editions by John Chamberlain, Milton Friedman, and Hayek himself, this new edition of The Road to Serfdom will be the definitive version of Hayek's enduring masterwork.
The U.S. dollar has been the global reserve currency since the end of World War II. If the dollar fails, the entire international monetary system will fail with it. But optimists have always said, in essence, that confidence in the dollar will never truly be shaken, no matter how high our national debt or how dysfunctional our government.
In the last few years, however, the risks have become too big to ignore. While Washington is gridlocked, our biggest rivals—China, Russia, and the oil-producing nations of the Middle East—are doing everything possible to end U.S. monetary hegemony. The potential results: Financial warfare. Deflation. Hyperinflation. Market collapse. Chaos.
James Rickards, the acclaimed author of Currency Wars, shows why money itself is now at risk and what we can all do to protect ourselves. He explains the power of converting unreliable investments into real wealth: gold, land, fine art, and other long-term stores of value.
Rajan shows how the individual choices that collectively brought about the economic meltdown--made by bankers, government officials, and ordinary homeowners--were rational responses to a flawed global financial order in which the incentives to take on risk are incredibly out of step with the dangers those risks pose. He traces the deepening fault lines in a world overly dependent on the indebted American consumer to power global economic growth and stave off global downturns. He exposes a system where America's growing inequality and thin social safety net create tremendous political pressure to encourage easy credit and keep job creation robust, no matter what the consequences to the economy's long-term health; and where the U.S. financial sector, with its skewed incentives, is the critical but unstable link between an overstimulated America and an underconsuming world.
In Fault Lines, Rajan demonstrates how unequal access to education and health care in the United States puts us all in deeper financial peril, even as the economic choices of countries like Germany, Japan, and China place an undue burden on America to get its policies right. He outlines the hard choices we need to make to ensure a more stable world economy and restore lasting prosperity.
"There is no more powerful way to prove that we know something well than to draw a simple picture of it. And there is no more powerful way to see hidden solutions than to pick up a pen and draw out the pieces of our problem."
So writes Dan Roam in The Back of the Napkin, the international bestseller that proves that a simple drawing on a humble napkin can be more powerful than the slickest PowerPoint presentation. Drawing on twenty years of experience and the latest discoveries in vision science, Roam teaches readers how to clarify any problem or sell any idea using a simple set of tools.
He reveals that everyone is born with a talent for visual thinking, even those who swear they can't draw. And he shows how thinking with pictures can help you discover and develop new ideas, solve problems in unexpected ways, and dramatically improve your ability to share your insights.
Take Herb Kelleher and Rollin King, who figured out how to beat the traditional hub-and-spoke airlines with a bar napkin and a pen. Three dots to represent Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. Three arrows to show direct flights. Problem solved, and the picture made it easy to sell Southwest Airlines to investors and customers.
Now with more color, bigger pictures, and additional content, this new edition does an even better job of helping you literally see the world in a new way. Join the teachers, project managers, doctors, engineers, assembly-line workers, pilots, football coaches, marine drill instructors, financial analysts, students, parents, and lawyers who have discovered the power of solving problems with pictures.
He explodes common myths about wealth and explains how legendary entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson, Suze Orman, Steve Jobs, and Warren Buffet have subscribed to a set of priorities that’s completely different from those of the middle class.
Schiff identifies the seven distinct principles practiced by individuals who may or may not be any smarter than the rest of the population, but seem to understand instinctively how money is made. This guide also reveals how these business icons excel in areas of team building, risk management, and leadership development to accumulate their wealth.
He offers a practical four-step program, from choosing one’s livelihood and pinpointing skills to focus on, to negotiating job terms and salary, in order to bring upon greater success.
Business Brilliant by Lewis Schiff, coauthor of The Middle Class Millionaire: The Rise of the New Rich and How They are Changing America and The Armchair Millionaire, can help you can achieve better results in your business and in your career.
Basic Economics, which has now been translated into six languages and has additional material online, remains true to its core principle: that the fundamental facts and principles of economics do not require jargon, graphs, or equations, and can be learned in a relaxed and even enjoyable way.
When Freakonomics was first published, the authors started a blog—and they’ve kept it up. The writing is more casual, more personal, even more outlandish than in their books. In When to Rob a Bank, they ask a host of typically off-center questions: Why don’t flight attendants get tipped? If you were a terrorist, how would you attack? And why does KFC always run out of fried chicken?
Over the past decade, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner have published more than 8,000 blog posts on Freakonomics.com. Many of them, they freely admit, were rubbish. But now they’ve gone through and picked the best of the best. You’ll discover what people lie about, and why; the best way to cut gun deaths; why it might be time for a sex tax; and, yes, when to rob a bank. (Short answer: never; the ROI is terrible.) You’ll also learn a great deal about Levitt and Dubner’s own quirks and passions, from gambling and golf to backgammon and the abolition of the penny.
In How Markets Fail, John Cassidy describes the rising influence of what he calls utopian economics—thinking that is blind to how real people act and that denies the many ways an unregulated free market can produce disastrous unintended consequences. He then looks to the leading edge of economic theory, including behavioral economics, to offer a new understanding of the economy—one that casts aside the old assumption that people and firms make decisions purely on the basis of rational self-interest. Taking the global financial crisis and current recession as his starting point, Cassidy explores a world in which everybody is connected and social contagion is the norm. In such an environment, he shows, individual behavioral biases and kinks—overconfidence, envy, copycat behavior, and myopia—often give rise to troubling macroeconomic phenomena, such as oil price spikes, CEO greed cycles, and boom-and-bust waves in the housing market. These are the inevitable outcomes of what Cassidy refers to as "rational irrationality"—self-serving behavior in a modern market setting.
Combining on-the-ground reporting, clear explanations of esoteric economic theories, and even a little crystal-ball gazing, Cassidy warns that in today's economic crisis, conforming to antiquated orthodoxies isn't just misguided—it's downright dangerous. How Markets Fail offers a new, enlightening way to understand the force of the irrational in our volatile global economy.
Now a New York Times bestseller.
In a sweeping narrative about the people and the politics behind the budget, Wessel looks at the 2011 fiscal year (which ended September 30) to see where all the money was actually spent, and why the budget process has grown wildly out of control. Through the eyes of key people--Jacob Lew, White House director of the Office of Management and Budget; Douglas Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office; Blackstone founder and former Commerce Secretary Pete Peterson; and more--Wessel gives readers an inside look at the making of our unsustainable budget.
From the Hardcover edition.
The classic introduction to economic thought, now updated in time for the publication of New Ideas from Dead CEOs
This entertaining and accessible introduction to the great economic thinkers throughout history—Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes, and more—shows how their ideas still apply to our modern world. In this revised edition, renowned economist Todd Buchholz offers an insightful and informed perspective on key economic issues in the new millennium: increasing demand for energy, the rise of China, international trade, aging populations, health care, and the effects of global warming. New Ideas from Dead Economists is a fascinating guide to understanding both the evolution of economic theory and our complex contemporary economy.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Spirit Level does not simply provide a diagnosis of our ills, but provides invaluable instruction in shifting the balance from self-interested consumerism to a friendlier, more collaborative society. It shows a way out of the social and environmental problems which beset us, and opens up a major new approach to improving the real quality of life, not just for the poor but for everyone. It is, in its conclusion, an optimistic book, which should revitalize politics and provide a new way of thinking about how we organize human communities.
In Rise of the Robots, Ford details what machine intelligence and robotics can accomplish, and implores employers, scholars, and policy makers alike to face the implications. The past solutions to technological disruption, especially more training and education, aren't going to work, and we must decide, now, whether the future will see broad-based prosperity or catastrophic levels of inequality and economic insecurity. Rise of the Robots is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what accelerating technology means for their own economic prospects—not to mention those of their children—as well as for society as a whole.
There is a new cold war underway, driven by a massive geopolitical power shift to Russia that went almost unnoticed across the globe. In The Colder War: How the Global Energy Trade Slipped from America's Grasp, energy expert Marin Katusa takes a look at the ways the western world is losing control of the energy market, and what can be done about it.
Russia is in the midst of a rapid economic and geopolitical renaissance under the rule of Vladimir Putin, a tenacious KGB officer turned modern-day tsar. Understanding his rise to power provides the keys to understanding the shift in the energy trade from Saudi Arabia to Russia. This powerful new position threatens to unravel the political dominance of the United States once and for all.Discover how political coups, hostile takeovers, and assassinations have brought Russia to the center of the world's energy market Follow Putin's rise to power and how it has led to an upsetting of the global balance of trade Learn how Russia toppled a generation of robber barons and positioned itself as the most powerful force in the energy market Study Putin's long-range plans and their potential impact on the United States and the U.S. dollar
If Putin's plans are successful, not only will Russia be able to starve other countries of power, but the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) will replace the G7 in wealth and clout. The Colder War takes a hard look at what is to come in a new global energy market that is certain to cause unprecedented impact on the U.S. dollar and the American way of life.
The inequality gap is much more than a left-right hot potato-its causes and consequences call for a patient, non-partisan exploration. Timothy Noah's The Great Divergence, based on his award-winning series of articles for Slate, surveys the roots of the wealth gap, drawing on the best thinking of contemporary economists and political scientists. Noah also explores potential solutions to the problem, and explores why the growing rich-poor divide has sparked remarkably little public anger, in contrast to social unrest that prevailed before the New Deal.
The Great Divergence is poised to be one of the most talked-about books of 2012, a jump-start to the national conversation about the shape of American society in the 21st century, and a work that will help frame the debate in a Presidential election year.
In this timely book, Robert B. Reich argues that nothing good happens in Washington unless citizens are energized and organized to make sure Washington acts in the public good. The first step is to see the big picture. Beyond Outrage connects the dots, showing why the increasing share of income and wealth going to the top has hobbled jobs and growth for everyone else, undermining our democracy; caused Americans to become increasingly cynical about public life; and turned many Americans against one another. He also explains why the proposals of the “regressive right” are dead wrong and provides a clear roadmap of what must be done instead.
Here’s a plan for action for everyone who cares about the future of America.
A provocative and lively exploration of the increasingly important world of macroeconomics, by the author of the bestselling The Undercover Economist.
Thanks to the worldwide financial upheaval, economics is no longer a topic we can ignore. From politicians to hedge fund managers to middle-class IRA holders, everyone must pay attention to how and why the global economy works the way it does.
Enter Financial Times columnist and bestselling author Tim Harford. In this new book that demystifies macroeconomics, Harford strips away the spin, the hype, and the jargon to reveal the truth about how the world’s economy actually works. With the wit of a raconteur and the clear grasp of an expert, Harford explains what’s really happening beyond today’s headlines, why all of us should care, and what we can do about it to understand it better.
Jesse Ventura reviews Major General Butler’s original writings and brings them up to date, relating them to our current political climate. Butler was a visionary in his day, and Ventura works to show how right he was and how wrong our current democracy is. Read for the first time Butler’s words with Ventura’s witty, yet insightful spin on this relevant work that will appeal not only to military historians, but also to those interested in the state of our country and the entire world.
Considered among the leading economic thinkers of the “Austrian School,” which includes Carl Menger, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich (F.A.) Hayek, and others, Henry Hazlitt (1894-1993), was a libertarian philosopher, an economist, and a journalist. He was the founding vice-president of the Foundation for Economic Education and an early editor of The Freeman magazine, an influential libertarian publication. Hazlitt wrote Economics in One Lesson, his seminal work, in 1946. Concise and instructive, it is also deceptively prescient and far-reaching in its efforts to dissemble economic fallacies that are so prevalent they have almost become a new orthodoxy.
Many current economic commentators across the political spectrum have credited Hazlitt with foreseeing the collapse of the global economy which occurred more than 50 years after the initial publication of Economics in One Lesson. Hazlitt’s focus on non-governmental solutions, strong — and strongly reasoned — anti-deficit position, and general emphasis on free markets, economic liberty of individuals, and the dangers of government intervention make Economics in One Lesson, every bit as relevant and valuable today as it has been since publication.
The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy is a critically-acclaimed narrative that illuminates the globalization debates and reveals the key factors to success in global business. Tracing a T-shirt's life story from a Texas cotton field to a Chinese factory and back to a U.S. storefront before arriving at the used clothing market in Africa, the book uncovers the political and economic forces at work in the global economy. Along the way, this fascinating exploration addresses a wealth of compelling questions about politics, trade, economics, ethics, and the impact of history on today's business landscape. This new printing of the second edition includes a revised preface and a new epilogue with updates through 2014 on the people, industries, and policies related to the T-shirt's life story.
Using a simple, everyday T-shirt as a lens through which to explore the business, economic, moral, and political complexities of globalization in a historical context, Travels encapsulates a number of complex issues into a single identifiable object that will strike a chord with readers as they:Investigate the sources of sustained competitive advantage in different industries Examine the global economic and political forces that explain trade patters between countries Analyze complex moral issues related to globalization and international business Discover the importance of cultural and human elements in international trade
This story of a simple product illuminates the many complex issues which businesspeople, policymakers, and global citizens are touched by every day.
In The Body Economic, Stuckler and Basu mine data from around the globe and throughout history to show how government policy becomes a matter of life and death during financial crises. In a series of historical case studies stretching from 1930s America, to Russia and Indonesia in the 1990s, to present-day Greece, Britain, Spain, and the U.S., Stuckler and Basu reveal that governmental mismanagement of financial strife has resulted in a grim array of human tragedies, from suicides to HIV infections. Yet people can and do stay healthy, and even get healthier, during downturns. During the Great Depression, U.S. deaths actually plummeted, and today Iceland, Norway, and Japan are happier and healthier than ever, proof that public wellbeing need not be sacrificed for fiscal health.
Full of shocking and counterintuitive revelations and bold policy recommendations, The Body Economic offers an alternative to austerity—one that will prevent widespread suffering, both now and in the future.
Dan Roam's The Back of the Napkin, a BusinessWeek bestseller, taught readers the power of brainstorming and communicating with pictures. It presented a new and exciting way to solve all kinds of problems-from the boardroom to the sales floor to the cubicle jungle.
The companion workbook, Unfolding the Napkin, helps readers put Roam's principles into practice with step-by-step guidelines. It's filled with detailed case studies, guided do-it-yourself exercises, and plenty of blank space for drawing. Roam structured the book as a complete four-day visual-thinking seminar, taking readers step-by-step from "I can't draw" to "Here is the picture I drew that I think will save the world."
The workbook teaches readers how to:
•Improve their three "built-in" visual problem solving tools.
•Apply the four-step visual thinking process (look-see-imagine-show) in any business situation.
•Instantly improve their visual imaginations.
•Learn how to recognize the type of problem to choose the best visual solution.
If The Back of the Napkin was a guide to fine dining, Unfolding the Napkin is the cookbook that will soon be heavily marked up and dogeared.
A New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestseller
In this book, Whole Foods Market cofounder John Mackey and professor and Conscious Capitalism, Inc. cofounder Raj Sisodia argue for the inherent good of both business and capitalism. Featuring some of today’s best-known companies, they illustrate how these two forces can—and do—work most powerfully to create value for all stakeholders: including customers, employees, suppliers, investors, society, and the environment.
These “Conscious Capitalism” companies include Whole Foods Market, Southwest Airlines, Costco, Google, Patagonia, The Container Store, UPS, and dozens of others. We know them; we buy their products or use their services. Now it’s time to better understand how these organizations use four specific tenets—higher purpose, stakeholder integration, conscious leadership, and conscious culture and management—to build strong businesses and help advance capitalism further toward realizing its highest potential.
As leaders of the Conscious Capitalism movement, Mackey and Sisodia argue that aspiring leaders and business builders need to continue on this path of transformation—for the good of both business and society as a whole.
At once a bold defense and reimagining of capitalism and a blueprint for a new system for doing business grounded in a more evolved ethical consciousness, this book provides a new lens for individuals and companies looking to build a more cooperative, humane, and positive future.
The Problem: We talk so much that we don't think very well. Powerful as words are, we fool ourselves when we think our words alone can detect, describe, and defuse the multifaceted problems of today. They can't-and that's bad, because words have become our default thinking tool.
The Solution: This book offers a way out of blah-blah-blah. It's called "Vivid Thinking."
In Dan Roam's first acclaimed book, The Back of the Napkin, he taught readers how to solve problems and sell ideas by drawing simple pictures. Now he proves that Vivid Thinking is even more powerful. This technique combines our verbal and visual minds so that we can think and learn more quickly, teach and inspire our colleagues, and enjoy and share ideas in a whole new way.
The Destination: No more blah-blah-blah. Through Vivid Thinking, we can make the most complicated subjects suddenly crystal clear. Whether trying to understand a Harvard Business School class, or what went down in the Conan versus Leno battle for late-night TV, or what Einstein thought about relativity, Vivid Thinking provides a way to clarify anything.
Through dozens of guided examples, Roam proves that anyone can apply this systematic approach, from leftbrain types who hate to draw to right-brainers who hate to write. This isn't just a book about improving communications, presentations, and ideation; it's about removing the blah-blah- blah from your life for good.
Tracing the emergence of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of objectivism in the 1940s to her present-day influence, Darryl Cunningham’s latest work of graphic-nonfiction investigation leads readers to the heart of the global financial crisis of 2008. Cunningham uses Rand’s biography to illuminate the policies that led to the economic crash in the U.S. and in Europe, and how her philosophy continues to affect today’s politics and policies, starting with her most noted disciple, economist Alan Greenspan (former chairman of the Federal Reserve). Cunningham also shows how right-wing conservatives, libertarians, and the Tea Party movement have co-opted Rand’s teachings (and inherent contradictions) to promote personal gain and profit at the expense of the middle class. Tackling the complexities of economics by distilling them down to a series of concepts accessible to all age groups, Cunningham ultimately delivers a devastating analysis of our current economic world.
Praise for Darryl Cunningham:
“It takes other authors whole books to say what Darryl Cunningham can say in a single illustration.” —Jon Ronson, author of The Men Who Stare at Goats
“Cunningham’s art has clean lines and a continuity that is often graceful, charming, and endearing. He speaks with quiet authority on his subjects, but is careful to cite a whole range of sources and research papers.” —Independent
“It’s good to see the arguments presented so well, clearly, and concisely . . . Cunningham delivers his message with style, great art, even moments of outright comedy."—Forbidden Planet
Rifkin uncovers a paradox at the heart of capitalism that has propelled it to greatness but is now taking it to its death—the inherent entrepreneurial dynamism of competitive markets that drives productivity up and marginal costs down, enabling businesses to reduce the price of their goods and services in order to win over consumers and market share. (Marginal cost is the cost of producing additional units of a good or service, if fixed costs are not counted.) While economists have always welcomed a reduction in marginal cost, they never anticipated the possibility of a technological revolution that might bring marginal costs to near zero, making goods and services priceless, nearly free, and abundant, and no longer subject to market forces.
Now, a formidable new technology infrastructure—the Internet of things (IoT)—is emerging with the potential of pushing large segments of economic life to near zero marginal cost in the years ahead. Rifkin describes how the Communication Internet is converging with a nascent Energy Internet and Logistics Internet to create a new technology platform that connects everything and everyone. Billions of sensors are being attached to natural resources, production lines, the electricity grid, logistics networks, recycling flows, and implanted in homes, offices, stores, vehicles, and even human beings, feeding Big Data into an IoT global neural network. Prosumers can connect to the network and use Big Data, analytics, and algorithms to accelerate efficiency, dramatically increase productivity, and lower the marginal cost of producing and sharing a wide range of products and services to near zero, just like they now do with information goods.
The plummeting of marginal costs is spawning a hybrid economy—part capitalist market and part Collaborative Commons—with far reaching implications for society, according to Rifkin. Hundreds of millions of people are already transferring parts of their economic lives to the global Collaborative Commons. Prosumers are plugging into the fledgling IoT and making and sharing their own information, entertainment, green energy, and 3D-printed products at near zero marginal cost. They are also sharing cars, homes, clothes and other items via social media sites, rentals, redistribution clubs, and cooperatives at low or near zero marginal cost. Students are enrolling in free massive open online courses (MOOCs) that operate at near zero marginal cost. Social entrepreneurs are even bypassing the banking establishment and using crowdfunding to finance startup businesses as well as creating alternative currencies in the fledgling sharing economy. In this new world, social capital is as important as financial capital, access trumps ownership, sustainability supersedes consumerism, cooperation ousts competition, and "exchange value" in the capitalist marketplace is increasingly replaced by "sharable value" on the Collaborative Commons.
Rifkin concludes that capitalism will remain with us, albeit in an increasingly streamlined role, primarily as an aggregator of network services and solutions, allowing it to flourish as a powerful niche player in the coming era. We are, however, says Rifkin, entering a world beyond markets where we are learning how to live together in an increasingly interdependent global Collaborative Commons.
Adam Smith may have become the patron saint of capitalism after he penned his most famous work, The Wealth of Nations. But few people know that when it came to the behavior of individuals—the way we perceive ourselves, the way we treat others, and the decisions we make in pursuit of happiness—the Scottish philosopher had just as much to say. He developed his ideas on human nature in an epic, sprawling work titled The Theory of Moral Sentiments.
Most economists have never read it, and for most of his life, Russ Roberts was no exception. But when he finally picked up the book by the founder of his field, he realized he’d stumbled upon what might be the greatest self-help book that almost no one has read.
In How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life, Roberts examines Smith’s forgotten masterpiece, and finds a treasure trove of timeless, practical wisdom. Smith’s insights into human nature are just as relevant today as they were three hundred years ago. What does it take to be truly happy? Should we pursue fame and fortune or the respect of our friends and family? How can we make the world a better place? Smith’s unexpected answers, framed within the rich context of current events, literature, history, and pop culture, are at once profound, counterintuitive, and highly entertaining.
From the Trade Paperback edition.